The World Languages Curriculum for French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Arabic and Latin is part of the New Haven Public Schools’ district-wide standardized curriculum initiative. It continues to be performance-based as was curriculum introduced in 2006 in Level I World Language French, Spanish and Italian Courses. In line with the data-driven improvement strategies of the district, data based on citywide curricular elements is regularly reviewed. These elements, which include uniform significant tasks, activities and assessments, are essential parts of the World Languages curriculum.
A major goal of New Haven’s World Language Program is to carry students to higher levels of language study, including Advanced Placement. In keeping with current language acquisition theories, this curriculum is based on a communicative competence model that emphasizes oral skills with a foundation in grammar instruction. Another curriculum feature designed to enhance motivation and achievement is incorporating the most effective teaching strategies described by Robert Marzano in Classroom Instruction that Works. These strategies help improve and differentiate instruction for all learners. The World Languages Curriculum includes city-wide rubrics, one oral and one written, for use in assessing student performance on all Significant Tasks. The rationale for using rubrics is twofold: to clearly indicate the criteria for assessing performance and also to provided data to improve planning, instruction and student learning.
Active student performance will drive assessment in the World Language classrooms. However, in order to provide our students with standardized testing practice, quarterly assessments are given that are aligned with the Reading for Information section of the CAPT examinations along with items that assess students’ understanding of World Language content. Content questions are directly related to the National Standards in Foreign Language and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency guidelines.